Because of this blog, our China lawyers get a fairly steady stream of China law questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments as well. If we were to conduct research on all the questions we get asked and then comprehensively answer them, we would become overwhelmed. So what we usually do is provide a super fast general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or two to a blog post that may provide some additional guidance. We figure we might as well post some of these on here as well. On Fridays, like today.
One question we get a fair amount is: “Alibaba [or some other Chinese e-commerce site] is selling counterfeit versions of my product. Will you help me sue them in China?”
We generally respond as follows: The way to remove infringing goods on a Chinese e-commerce site is to contact the site directly. Most e-commerce sites will not lift a finger unless you have already registered your IP in China. If you file a lawsuit in China against a site without first asking the site to take down the infringing listing and registering your IP, the judge will tell you to take a hike.
Filing suit in the U.S. hasn’t been a successful route, either. Kering Group (the parent company of luxury brands Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Balenciaga, and others) filed suit against Alibaba in 2015. The suit is still wending its way through federal court, but some of the more serious charges have already been dismissed.
We will be discussing the practical aspects of Chinese law and how it impacts business there. We will be telling you what works and what does not and what you as a businessperson can do to use the law to your advantage. Our aim is to assist businesses already in China or planning to go into China, not to break new ground in legal theory or policy.